“It’s always the struggles that define you in life. Look back at your life whether you’re 13 years old or 80 years old and it’s always the hardest times that made you who you are.”
This week marks the return of my friend Casey Neistat to the podcast.
Where to even begin…
As a filmmaker credentialed with co-creating an HBO series and laurels from prestigious outlets like Cannes, Sundance and the Independent Spirit Awards, one would expect an artist of his pedigree to be directing feature films, documentaries and television shows for mainstream media. And yet sometime around 2010, Casey opted for the road less travelled, putting the traditional filmmaker path in his rearview to blaze a different and quite surprising path more in alignment with his DIY sensibilities:
The great irony is that in embracing the most democratic of platforms as his primary artistic outlet, Casey has indeed become one of the most compelling and culturally relevant voices of his generation.
From his sensational “Make It Count” (my fave) to his poignant “What Would You Do with $25,000?” to his gleeful “Snowboard NYC”, Casey has logged over 129 million YouTube views, compelling Wired Magazine to remark, “Casey Neistat’s bite-size Internet movies have so much viral potential they make influenza jealous.” Let’s not even get into his continent-sized following on Snapchat (check out his ancillary Snap Stories YouTube Channel ), or the fact that he recently began posting a daily vlog so stellar, suddenly every other vlogger looks remedial.
Putting out a volume of content that would rival a major network, Casey Neistat is truly a do-it-yourself triumph — famed and fêted for unceasingly documenting his life, globe-trotting adventures and myriad curiosities with boundless perspicacity and bootstrapping panache.
So what is it exactly that makes Casey’s work so irresistible? Maybe it’s simply because he knows how to tell insanely great personal stories. Perhaps it’s his rapier-like knack for tapping the zeitgeist pulse. His fidelity to authenticity. Or his expertise when it comes to connecting emotionally with a signature style that always leaves you yearning for more.
If you ask me what sets Casey apart, it’s something else entirely:
an absolute disregard for failure.
That, and a profound work ethic. He makes it look easy, but make no mistake: Casey Neistat works way harder than you do.
No, you can’t have his life. But you can have your own. To echo Casey, if you are doing it like everyone else, you’re doing it wrong. So stop following the heard.
Define your own path.
It was a treat to once again drop in on his singular Lower Manhattan studio — “one of the most compulsively organized, ridiculously customized, and mind-bogglingly gear-saturated spaces on Planet Awesome” — and I am pumped to share this conversation with one of the most interesting, creative, prolific — and in my opinion important — visual artists working today.
NOTE: this is a short one. Just as I was starting to hit my conversational stride, at 45 minutes in Casey had to pull the plug. As you will hear, it makes for a rather abrupt, albeit somewhat comedic end to the podcast. I’m back in NYC for 10 days in June, so I will do my best to pick things up where we left off. Nonetheless, plenty of gems to mine. And yes of course, he made a little Snapchat story about the whole affair:
If you didn’t tune in for our first conversation, you really should — it’s great.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. Thanks boys!
- Wired.com: This Guy Has The Most OCD-Lightful Office You’ll Ever See by Joe Brown
- ADWEEK.com: How Filmmaker Casey Neistat Gets Away With Murder by Tim Nudd
- Time.com: Jerome Jarre and Casey Neistat, Heroes in the Age of Vine by Philip Davidson
- Fastcompany.com: The Secret To Viral Success From Filmmaker Casey Neistat
- NYTimes.com: Be The Star of Your Own Snapchat Story by Nick Bilton
- NYTimes.com: Grandmaster Sachs by Jody Rosen
- Fstoppers.com: The Life of Filmmaker Casey Neistat: When Opportunity Meets Preparation by Noam Galai
- Gigaom.com: Social media star Casey Neistat talks Snapchat versus YouTube by Carmel DeAmicis
- Medium.com: Why Casey Neistat’s Snapchat Is More Interesting Than Yours by Daniel Patrick
- Gizmodo: The Wildly Functional Studio of Video Wizard Casey Neistat
- Read Casey’s Favorite Book: The Autobiography of Malcolm X*
- Read: Herzog on Herzog* by Paul Cronin
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Are you a company interested in sponsoring the podcast? Click here to learn more & take our sponsor survey.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THE PODCAST?
Tell Your Friends & Share Online!